Laid an Egg

November 27, 2014

November 27, 2014

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Gary Baise, Illinois farmer and trial attorney at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC, writes: “California judge dismisses case that could devastate ag in every state.” Devastate ag in every state.” What is this all about?

California has a law on the books that says you can’t sell eggs in California unless the cages of the egg-laying hens meet California standards. Is the purpose of this law to be nice to the hens or simply to discriminate against out-of-state egg producers? I know HSUS and the California egg farmers argue they just want to give the hens more room.

The consumers in California consume about 15 billion eggs a year. About half of those eggs come from other states. Iowa is the biggest provider, shipping more than 2 billion eggs to California.

What gives California the authority to tell everyone else in the U.S. how to care for their hens? The next requirement could affect pork producers. Think about it. “No crates – hogs in field and not in confinement. The beef feed lots are too crowded.” There is no limit to this “we know best” attitude.

The commerce clause in the Constitution gives Congress the “power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states and with Indian tribes.” The clause does not give any state the right to discriminate against or excessively burden interstate commerce.

Here we are, writing free trade agreements with other countries. If we go down the California road, we will need trade agreements between states. Out-of-state farmers lost the first challenge to the California “chicken overreach” when six state attorneys general tried but lost. But, this battle is not over nor should it be. According to trial attorney Gary Baise, “This case can be won.”

So, let’s win it the next time.

That’s my message for this week.

If you would like to review my radio shows going bac more than 20 years, just go on-line to Have a great weekend. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. In spite of all the challenges, we have a lot to be thankful for.

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington, D.C.